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Have a Gassy Baby? What to Know About Infant Gas Symptoms, Remedies, and Causes

Gas pain in newborns is a common and frequent concern for new parents. It’s a normal part of a baby’s development but can cause discomfort. This article will guide you through the symptoms, causes, and effective remedies for gas in babies, giving you the tools to provide relief and understand when professional medical help might be necessary.

Baby Gas Symptoms

Most parents become familiar with the telltale signs of newborn gas pain. However, recognizing a gassy baby and understanding these symptoms can sometimes be a learning curve. These symptoms might include:

Fussiness and Crying

A gassy baby may seem more irritable, especially after feeding. The discomfort from the gas might cause them to squirm, grimace, or cry. This fussiness can occur anytime but is often more pronounced during and after feedings.

A Bloated Stomach

Gas trapped in the intestines can make a baby’s tummy hard and distended. Parents might notice the belly is tight to the touch, and the baby may react with discomfort when the area is gently pressed.

Pulling the Legs Up Towards the Stomach

This physical response is a natural reaction to the pain caused by trapped gas. Babies may pull their legs towards their stomach and chest to relieve the pressure. They may also alternately stretch and bend their legs or squirm.

Passing Gas

While it might cause a giggle or two, it is a typical sign that a baby works through digestive discomfort. Parents may notice more frequent or louder passing of gas during episodes of gas pain.

Changes in Facial Expression

Babies with gas may exhibit differences in facial expressions, such as furrowing their brows or looking pained. They might open their mouths wide, yawn, or make sucking motions.

Difficulty Sleeping

Gas pain can interfere with sleep, leading to shorter naps or more frequent awakenings at night. A baby who sleeps typically soundly but suddenly struggles might be dealing with gas pain.

Temporary Changes in Behavior

Some babies might become clingier, seeking comfort from the pain, while others may prefer to be left alone and become agitated if held or touched.

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Common Causes of Gas In Babies

Understanding the root of the problem can help you address it more effectively. One primary cause is minor digestive problems. Since babies’ digestive systems are still developing, they might have difficulty processing certain substances in breast milk or formula.

This immaturity in the digestive tract means enzymes necessary for digestion may be lacking, causing food to break down inefficiently. In turn, this inefficient breakdown may create gas bubbles, leading to discomfort. Lactose intolerance or sensitivities to specific proteins found in milk can also contribute to gas, causing bloating, belching, and flatulence.

Another significant cause of gas in babies is swallowing air, an average yet sometimes problematic occurrence. Whether it’s during feeding or crying, babies can eat air, leading to gas. How a baby is fed can influence this; for example, a baby who feeds quickly sucks on an empty bottle or feeds while lying down might swallow more air.

Even the type of bottle or nipple used can contribute to this problem. The swallowed air gets trapped in the digestive system and causes pressure and discomfort. Parents may notice that certain feeding habits or changes in routine might exacerbate these issues, making understanding and observation key in finding relief for a gassy baby.

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How to Relieve Gas in Infants and Young Babies

Finding the right approach for your baby may require experimentation, patience, and careful observation. Gas pain can be a frustrating challenge, but with the right strategies, parents can offer relief. Here’s an extensive guide to help you navigate this common issue:

Feeding Tips

  • Feed in an Upright Position: Holding your baby upright. At the same time, feeding helps gravity do its job, letting the milk settle while the air rises. This positioning assists the baby in swallowing less air, reducing the chances of gas bubbles forming.
  • Encourage Slow Eating: Allowing your baby to take their time during feeding minimizes the amount of air swallowed. Slow and steady feeding, with regular burp breaks, can help reduce gas pain.

  • Check Your Diet if You’re Breastfeeding: Your diet can influence your breast milk, which might, in turn, cause gas in your baby. Some common culprits are caffeine, dairy, and spicy foods. Monitoring your diet and consulting with a healthcare provider can guide personalized dietary adjustments.

  • Test New Formulas: Not all formulas are created equal, and some babies might react differently to different ingredients. Finding the right one can make a difference in your baby’s comfort if you’re using formula. Always consult with a healthcare provider before switching formulas.

Physical Techniques

  • Do Baby Bicycles: Gentle leg exercises mimicking the motion of riding a bicycle can help release gas. Lay your baby on their back and gently move their legs in a circular motion. This exercise can be a fun game and provide essential relief.

  • Try the Colic Carry: Holding your baby with their stomach over your forearm and their head in your hand can relieve pressure on their abdomen. Walking around in this position or gently patting their back can help the gas bubbles move through the digestive tract.

Product Recommendations

  • Try Baby Gas Drops: Some over-the-counter products, like simethicone-based gas drops, are designed to break down gas bubbles in the stomach. They are generally considered safe, but consulting with a healthcare provider for personalized recommendations is always wise.

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How Can I Tell the Difference Between Regular Infant Gas and Colic?

Colic is more severe and persistent than regular gas, and differentiating between the two can sometimes be a concern. Regular gas might cause discomfort and crying, but colic is a more intense condition.

If your baby’s crying lasts more than three hours a day, occurs more than three days a week, and persists for at least three weeks, it might be colic. The cause of colic is still not entirely understood, and its symptoms can be more complex. Consulting with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment is crucial, as they can assess your baby’s specific situation and recommend appropriate interventions.

When to Call the Doctor for a Gassy Baby

If the strategies above don’t provide relief or if you notice additional symptoms, it may be time to consult a healthcare provider. While occasional gas pain is normal in babies, persistent or severe symptoms warrant medical attention. Here’s what to watch out for:

1. No Relief from Home Remedies

 Professional medical guidance may be necessary if the strategies and techniques you’ve tried at home aren’t alleviating your baby’s discomfort.

2. Vomiting or Persistent Diarrhea

 Occasional spit-up is normal, but recurrent vomiting or consistent diarrhea could indicate a more serious underlying issue.

3. Fever

 If your baby develops a fever, it may indicate an infection or other medical problem that requires immediate attention.

4. Lethargy or Unresponsiveness

 Any significant change in your baby’s behavior or responsiveness can be concerning and should prompt a call to the doctor.

5. Changes in Eating Habits

 A decrease in appetite or difficulty in feeding might be related to gas or other digestive issues and requires professional assessment.

6. Blood in Stool

This is a serious sign that something might be wrong, and you should seek medical attention immediately.

Remember, you know your baby best; seeking professional guidance is always a good idea if something doesn’t feel right. Healthcare providers are there to help you and your baby and can offer tailored advice and treatment.

Can Gas Drops or Other Remedies for Gas Be Harmful to My Baby?

Most remedies for infant gas, including gas drops and natural interventions, are typically considered safe. However, it’s essential to recognize that every baby is unique, and what works for one might not be suitable for another. Differences in age, weight, and individual sensitivities can affect how a baby reacts to a particular remedy.

Factors such as potential allergic reactions to specific ingredients or interactions with other medications or foods require consideration. Even age and weight considerations play a role, as some products are designed for babies of certain ages or weights, and using the wrong product could be ineffective or harmful.

The complexity of these considerations underscores the importance of consulting with a healthcare provider or pharmacist, especially when using over-the-counter products. Continually using specific remedies without professional guidance could lead to underlying issues going undiagnosed or untreated.

Always following the instructions on any product’s packaging and reaching out to healthcare professionals with any questions or concerns is not only wise but essential. They have the knowledge and expertise to recommend the best action for your baby’s needs, ensuring effectiveness and safety.


Gas in newborns is usually a minor issue but can be distressing. Understanding the symptoms, causes, and effective remedies can give you the confidence to soothe your baby. Remember, you know your baby best, and it’s always okay to seek professional advice if you’re concerned.

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